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    which email did you send it to, of anything right now a private message would probably be the best
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    I want an invite.
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About Fabartus

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About Fabartus
Biography:
Updated: April, 11th 2013 (Since I'm expecting to be visiting here far more often going forward...)

I'm a 58 y.o. hardware/software engineer with bad and degenerating eyesight (I frequently have to resort to using a hand magnifying glass to set gradients and elevations properly!) that has been steadily deteriorating since back in the middle of 2002. It got bad enough, I really cut back on online activities back in 2009, hence I don't browse on line a lot either but will be trying here more going forwards. The eyes are a real problem as my focal depth has narrowed to about 3-4 inches and whatever I'm reading needs to be at the right angle for my bi-follicle improved eyes to see as well can, and mostly don't so good, at all, at all. Lastly the focal distance of this moment can be quite different an hour from now, so even a page scaled for reading can need rescaled to see it well enough again a brief time later, and editting boxes such as this one don't scale in zoom in states (useful for me to see clearly) at all. Thank God for Notepad.exe and a cut buffer capability, or putting this up would be a nightmare. In short, the eye's are complicated, frustrating, and debilitating, and this website's page design with it's train loco signature blocks wasting tons of whitespace between each answer, the pages nav links tab bar that don't scale well at all (distorting where nav links are happening--complained on that yesterday. Zoom in and see for yourself) is and has been all really off putting, hence my absence despite my strong interest! Like I suspect many of us, I'd an interest in model railroading, in my case on HO scale to the tune of several thousands invested when my oldest was 12 or so. Based on the New User FAQ and a dozen other factors, IMHO, the forum's not well maintained, organized or properly segmented either... say by release groupings (2004 or 2009 or 2012...) reminds me of a forum from about a decade ago, not more modern ones. (Where's the preview capability here on the bio page, btw. -- As one point now noticed in this informed opinion!)

I was once quite active in USENET and various other forums from even back in the early (Text only--IP Address only pre-URL!) internet... as it evolved to GUI modes and ads everywhere even used newsreaders and various feeds (including ages and ages of 'IMing daze') before the eyes became a major lifestyle impacting issue (since late 2009). Since that change is when I turned away from online and first really began hacking around TRAINZ (when limited time permitted) with TRS2004 and TRS2006. We've each release from the orignal, mostly owned by my son Jonathan. Hence the ability to have fun offline has been one major attraction Trainz has had for me... not that I wouldn't have minded advice and new assets now and again... but I can only fit so many learning curves into the schedule of an already crowed life.

The last six years, my career has turned upside down: beginning innocently when I started the working from home Mr-Mom thing so I could drive my kids 18 miles to their private prep school, then elvolving into a joint phase nursing elderly parents (both my mother & mother-in-law) into their ninties through their last days, and because I had to jump in during an emergency (and little did I know, out of engineering) to help in what is now 'the family business' (accounting, see cabrandt.com) vice my profession. I'm not really an accountant either, but I can fake a few skills, manage the staff, and sooth the odd client when the wife is unavailable.

Back when, in engineering, I'd worked on lasers (Ironically one line of early experimental eyesight correction laser systems back in the early and mid-80s!), defense systems (Aegis, Patriot, Hawk, HARM, Trident, a module for Phoenix, AMRAAM, Helfire and a few other minor USA missle upgrades projects (Sea Sparrow, Sidewinder), avionics for Comanche and Apache Helos, and the F22 Raptor stealth fighter.

As a consultant working for myself, I also did work in Point of Sales Cash register systems (Burger King), the laser systems work spanned eight years, and much work in controls, automation and robotics retrofitting industrial machinery to digital controlled computer interfaced semi-automated 'more modern' systems saving loads of dollars in capital costs for various companies. One such project was upgrading a large corrigated box making press that began life in 1889! Now it's digital, and so is much of the rest of that companies older equipement. Unusually, as a hardware engineer, I could swing both the digital and analog engineering worlds, plus was pretty good software, especially with firmware and imbedded systems which are now the norm. I even wrote part of 2 million lines of code in C++ back when I tried just coding software for a living ('90-'91), but I truly both write excellent code and am truly too slow in getting it put together. I'm AD/HD and like many, have short term memory issues, and the many commands, sytaxes, orderings of things or alternative names to remember in software just plain slow me down in co-operative collaborations. I do fine and fast enough writing and recalling my own creations, but multiprogrammer projects and some counterintuitive standards slow me down. On the otherhand, my stuff worked w/o bugs, even firmware written in early machine language assemblers.

And (as of the moment, 11 Apr 2013), haven't downloaded a single thing (but will start to be doing that sometime this very week), upgrading my Trainz version and acquiring a new more capable computer that can handle that! I've two boys in college (so am relatively stingy with spending), the oldest who has downloaded (and since apparently lost) a ton-a-bunch of things (esp. Locos), but hasn't done squat with Surveyor--where I've been happily occupied when I had TRAINZ TIME. To date, I run on a Pentium 4, 2Ghz, 2GB (IDE/USB tech) tower which was once an advanced model, and a Dual Core newer generation (now 7yr old) Laptop, both running nVidia cards (7300+7600). I've been cheerfully ignoring the licensing agreement running Trainz on both the tower and laptop, since the tower is really uncomfortable to hold in my lap watching television and painting terrains or running trains. (I can only be operating one at a time, so I'm complying with the licences spirit--besides I reread books and never ever give the author a second payment, so shove that strict DRM interpretation where the sun don't ever shine. I promise I won't let anyone else use my computers, trust me. <g>)

Relative to TRS2006 -- to date: I've been much focused in the virtual worlds of the TRS2004&6 releases, especially the tutorial layouts... I've significantly extended the Highland Valley route (TRS2000--TRS2006), Merged the Tidewater North and South layouts around filler terrain and extended that map in all compass directions, at least Quintupled the size and content of the City and Country layout, and really evolved the industries and signalling for AI Drivers in the fun North Bay County (narrow guage) layout. Plus I've done a few 'less project size' expansions of a couple of the other stock routes in TRS2006 (Marias Pass, two Alps (The Black Forest, Winter in the Alps), and twice British Midlands (The BR coal loading tutorial) route; once to reverse and resignal it to drive USA mode (We in America Drive on the RIGHT side, not the WRONG side! <bseg>), and the second to extend it and because I had two broken computers being serviced and I wanted to play trainz a few days using the wife's Laptop, so installed it. I think I need a site license!? I also play around extending or writing sessions with Industrial wasteland). [I guess I've nearly almost gotten my monies worth so far!]

Along the way I've gotten pretty good at figuring out how to set up a layout so AI Drivers do what I expect and rarely crash--even given relatively realistic and complicated command ques (at least for over an first hour)--for all my sessions involve a lot of rolling stock doing industry things, as do my lesser route modifications, which normally begin by adding industries. Some of those involve a necessity for operator intervention so I have those AI command ques wait for a 'Mission Impossible' trigger, signaling I need to do the driving for a bit of the 'realistic' train's mission tasking.

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I find watershed geography and the obsticals posed by such of great interest, so my created from scratch layouts begin with laying out a streams plan on C-size engineering graph paper (34"x22"). My most extensive layout began as a modification and is 25 X 16 baseboards using and incorporating (merges) of both stock 4 baseboard tall Highland Valley Maps I (not-so-imaginatively) call HVI+HVP (The map from Trainz 2000 used for the timed passenger scenario bundled in both my TRS 2004 releases, and the JB's Lumber containing Highland Valley Industries map). These have two medium-large yards offset several miles apart on a NW--SE line of position on opposite sides of a ridge/watershed divide in my adaptation of Chuck CeeBee Barkman's base trackage. The JB's-Lumberless one (was also used for a Steam Session and Highland Valley Coal scenarios) has all the renamed places, the other on the Driver tutorial 5, and since I'd found each a fun drive when I began my TRAINZ experiences, they were an natural starting point to explore Surveyor too.) That (my adapted) layout (version 18) currently has about 15 towns and railway terminals, over 12 portals, and just about every interactive industry of stock TRS2006 somewhere or in multiples (e.g. Two Oil Wells, multiple Coal Mines, two power companies, an economy myself or my Drivers feed realistically. One session has 14 AI Drivers plus a few random consists out of portals running auto command ques. The watershed driven mountainous terrain spirals out from the eastmost of Barkman baseboards (the yard is 'Goodwrench' and instead of a steel mill, is located along the south running lake fed tributary river (along whose banks have a container business and the layout's one Oil Refinery) initially south, eastwards, (visualize the '@' sign) northeast, much more northly, the sweeps ultimately back south and a baseboard or two from the west map edge runs southerly to end as the right bank river that merges with the river that began off the Greenwood yard in the layout's NW quadrant. OK, so it's my basement's dream fantasy model railroad... it's been fun. I can't wait to play it on better computer as it's really taxing both my 2GHz machines since the last major expansions last fall.

The only 3rd party content I've lately incorporated (last October) comes from the bonus content CDROM of Trainz 2004 Deluxe. My other major projects were extensions and adds to Marias Pass (mainly industries and reversing loops so AI Drivers could keep up a continual traffic flow) and a big overhaul of the combined Tidewater Point Rail merged layout, with a hypothetical (portal) connection to B&O's Six Mile Yard south of Baltimore and north of Washington DC. and another to both the Southeast (presumably Washington DC), the south (Alexandria and/or Richmond Virginia), North (Hagerstown, Md.) and NorthWest (presumably [a hypothetical tunnel?] crossing the Allegheny Mountains (or via a shortline connection up the Columbian Narrows and reaching Weeling W.V. and Pittsburgh,PA) to the west in the mid-NS-map north of the sawmill.

Hence while so far I'm time-invested in fantasy roads, I also try for a fair amount of reasonable (Can it be rationalized?) reality in making design improvements. It's been fun, but time to begin new things... like the web connected content, user boards, DLS, and the newer software. So expect me to begin haunting pages here... there are a lot to catch up with, and my bad focal resolution makes for uneasy reading.

Alas, my much beloved Beagle yesterday consumed a big chunk of new computer budget funds; what we'd hoped was a relatively minor surgery was estimated at a surprisingly high $1,100+ dollars and with meds yesterday cost us $650 for a worse diagnoses (Cushing's disease) in the pre-surgical blood workup, so was not 'fixed' pending another procedure next week (ultrasound to nail down the new condition) and so a nightmare has intruded our discretionary funds already stressed this year by a car that died and needed replacing... TRS2012 will have to wait a bit longer for me while we resolve other minor things like medical care and college tuitions! Sniff.
Location:
United States of America, MA, North Andover
Interests:
I play chess, read a lot, have eclectic music tastes spanning decades of differing top artists, watc
Occupation:
Electrcal/Computer Engineer

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Mining Wikimedia Commons

by Fabartus on May 5th, 2013 at 06:08 PM
This is an answer to a poster about his loving TransDEM and the difficulty he was having finding historical details.
from: [URL]http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?101129-Master-Map-maker-needed/page4[/URL]

[QUOTE=Fabartus;1144156]
[LIST=1][*]If you're having trouble with the geo-data, confer with Steamboateng (next post after) who seems to be particular good with rooting the right stuff from the USGS databases. [*]If historical, you might consider 'letting your

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